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Death penalty expansions being considered in Louisiana

3 months 5 days 5 hours ago Monday, February 19 2024 Feb 19, 2024 February 19, 2024 10:29 PM February 19, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana legislature convened for its second special session Monday, with crime solutions at the forefront for lawmakers. Legislators are days away from deciding if the new execution methods will be legal with a bill filed by Republican state Rep. Nicholas Muscarello.

One of the governor's top priorities is adding new capital punishment methods. It's one of the issues Governor Jeff Landry campaigned on. 

"Everyone in this room is aware that crime has put a national spotlight on our great state," Landry said.

The governor says he's tired of Louisiana being considered one of the most dangerous states in America, and suggests the death penalty is a deterrent for criminals. The death penalty has not been used in Louisiana since 2010, under Governor Bobby Jindal. 

Critics on the other side of the aisle disagree with the death penalty proposal. State Rep. Edmond Jordan (D) says the punishment is risky, and there are bound to be mistakes.

"Louisiana has one of the highest wrongful conviction rates in the nation," Jordan said. "We have more people being exonerated than most other states. If someone is exonerated and they're dead, it doesn't do them any good."

The bill would add death by nitrogen gas and electrocution as legal methods for execution, though lethal injection would remain the preferred method. Despite the governor's backing, some Republicans disagree. 

"When it comes specifically to the death penalty, I personally am not a death penalty guy. I'm pro-life. I believe pro-life is from birth to death," Rep. Dixon McMakin (R) said.

The Senate will convene again Tuesday at 3 p.m., and the House will convene at 5 p.m.

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